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Contax RX input needed please


Well-Known Member
Forum members:

I'm looking for some advice on an alleged problem with a Contax RX body I recently sold to an unknown party on an auction site. The buyer bought a clean, used RX body, along with a clean used RTS II body, and has had them both in his possession for almost two weeks now. He bought them both instantly at the asking price, ending my auctions right away. My listing offered a return privilege if the item was defective or not as described provided the item was returned in seven days. This he did not do.

As is my custom, I tested both bodies with film before selling them (actually I used the RX for a couple of event shoots with great results as well) and the test photos came out fine. These were taken within 48 hours of shipping. Negatives were scanned commercially to digital CD and they look great so no printing was involved, as did the prints and slides from my previous photo shoots.

I just got an e-mail from the buyer stating he felt the RX was "defective" because in his view, it "underexposed by 1 EV" and the meter indications did not exactly match another Contax body he owned. He wants to return the camera for a refund. This presents a problem for me because today I leave for an overseas trip and will be gone for more than two months. Had the buyer complied with return instructions, I would have been here to receive the camera and inspect it, but now I will not be.

I've been shooting photos for over 30 years now, and know that no two in-camera meters will always agree on exposure in all lighting situations. I have no control over this person's choice of film, or subject matter, or lighting conditions, nor even what he considers "proper exposure", or how he is setting the camera. I have no idea what other camera he is using as his test reference. Back-reading some threads here on the RX, I have seen discussions of slight underexposure issues, but the topics would seem to indicate that this was due to a delliberate change in the exposure algorithm on the RX and other consumer grade later Contaxes such as the 167MT and ST to provide more saturation in color slide outcomes. As I said, the test shots I took looked great to me, they were all taken in the camera's "program" mode. They look exactly like similar shots taken with my five 167MT's.

So, here's my question for anyone who would care to weigh in on this. Does anyone here have experience with this person's alleged "problem" with exposure with the RX? What do you think the odds are that this camera is actually defective given it was tested just before shipping? Is this something that is a model specific problem, or do you think he just likes the RTS II better and doesn't want the RX now? Should I offer to have him send the camera to Tocad for service and help him out with the bill IF they find something wrong with it? What would you, as a group, think I owe this buyer as an honorable seller, if you would choose to offer an opinion?

Any comments on RX exposure problems or how to resolve this fairly would be welcome.



> I for one have great sympathy with you. I once sold an unopened > Nikon filter on Ebay as mint and had it returned by the Buyer as > Sub standard. It was of course perfect and either his standards > were different from those of Nikon or he just wanted to null the > contract. I now will not take returns on Ebay as it merly allows > the the buyer to use a bit of kit at the sellers expence. It is an > auction sale. Cheaper but with potentially more risk and has he > did not conform to your reasonable conditions it becomes his > problem not yours. Every Photographer I know adjusts their > metering in some way be-it via the camera or "that needs 1/2 stop > more" thinking I feel you have behaved in a reasonable manner and > unless the Buyer can come up with transparencies of ordinary > subjects under ordinary lighting with normal processing and in-date > film set at the correct ISO setting which show significant > deviations from normal you have behaved in an appropriate manner. > If this cannot be resolved to your satisfaction have the camera > returned to you before offering a refund otherwise you are totally > in the buyers hands and his level of photographic ability.


I possess three CONTAXes: a TVS2, a G2 and an RX, all three display = different exposure times (all within 1 EV of each other). I never = worried about this, all pictures came out beautifully!

Good luck,



Well-Known Member
>Hello all

I agree. I bought a used S2 for $725. Its meter was a stop hotter than all my other Contax bodies. But it was ALWAYS a stop hotter. I just compensate to my taste and shoot.

So what!



Well-Known Member
Hiya Tom,

I have traded on evilbay (I assume this is the 'venue')for about 5 years. No way would I refund this guy. Stack 20 cameras side by side, they will all give slightly different readings...anyone knows this. The Contax and Leica SLR's in my experience often err towards under exposure. You have no way of knowing if this guy is competent or a fool, or trying to wriggle out of the sale.

Also bear in mind that cameras with spot-on meters can still disagree if they have different weightings to their metering pattern. I have a Nikon F2 and F3..the meters are spot-on, but they give different readings because the F2 has a 60/40 centre weighting, whereas the F3 has a 80/20 weighting. I would point this out to our friend.

Suggest this is not a fault, but a quite normal condition for any used SLR and is well within acceptable exposure variance. If you do want to offer a refund, you should mention it is purely an act of good faith and as such the buyer must pay shipping both ways, AND you will only refund the final bid price LESS any fees you cannot claw back. You will still be paying the initial ebay listing fees (deduct them) also you may still incur paypal fees if he paid this way.

He has ignored your terms, so point this out. He will probably not want to pay for shipping both ways and have fees deducted, so this should deter any refund. Also you could mention that normally any buyer in this position would just re-list the item themselves and sell it on. This avoids many problems for both parties with a refund.

Even if the camera is -1EV and there is no way you can know this, it is still NOT defective.

The fact you are going away is irrelevant, do not mention this.

cheers Steve.M.


Well-Known Member
Forum members:

Thanks to all for the input on this issue. I guess I knew the answer to this one all along, but it is nice to have confirmation from other reasonable people on both the variability of meters and on equitable auction selling.

I now know how I will handle this, but will do so with the knowledge that others with experience agree with me.

Thanks again!